My Daughter's Crown

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Trip to the Imperial Palace(2)

They were escorted through a long hallway that led to the outside of a courtyard, they walked through a courtyard full of guards and servants who were busy, but would bow as they walked past.

Walking a bit more deep into the palace they entered and exited many places and finally on the far end of the first palace, they entered the garden. Yue Mian was greeted with a strong smell that bombarded her nostrils from different flowers mixed in with pesticide, she pinched her nose closed and looked around at the garden, it was a beautiful scenery.

She had only been to the palace garden a few times in the past and stopped visiting because of her change of attitude, she didn’t necessarily miss this place, it just..was..nice seeing something beautiful apart from seeing half-naked men and dirt.

She stopped to look at a bush of violet Azalea’s, she crouched down and slid her finger up and the stem of one was between her middle and index fingers, she looked around and saw that no one was around her and she crushed the flower in her hand while standing up, leaving a trail of crushed petals where she stood before.

She quickly caught up to her grandfather and the eunuch; for some reason, they did not notice that she wasn’t beside them before. They soon appeared before Emperor An who was hosting a lunch with Emperor Shaan, Empress Shaan and his three Noble wives from the Naiad Empire along with all of their children.

Seeing so many people gathered in one place made Yue Mian feel slightly annoyed, she was okay with being around the many soldiers at the army base, but not okay around people she barely knew. She acted as if everything was well and had a slight smile on her face as she greeted everyone.

Emperor An’s smile widened the moment he saw Yue Mian, they all stood up and greeted General Ye, conversations and compliments invaded Yue Mian’s ears as she walked over to the Emperors’ and Empress’ and also the Noble wives, she bowed greeting them all with grace and respect.

Emperor An pulled Yue Mian in for a hug and squeezed her tightly, he then let go of her and cupped his hands at the bottom of her face holding it up and kissed her on the forehead, the princes and princesses from both empires were shocked and so was Emperor Shaan and his wives.

Yue Mian was pulled in to sit next to Emperor An and he began speaking to her, “YuMi, when last did you visit me? Do you know that I have become lonely without you here?”

[This old man!], she thought, “Your majesty, I have been busy with my studies, I am truly sorry that I could not visit you as I did in the past.”

“Mn, alright I’ll forgive you this once, but if you don’t visit me at least once a month, I might just order you to live in the palace and become a lady-in-waiting,” he jokingly threatened.

Her body tensed at this thought, she nodded agreeing with his command. They exchanged a few more words before she went over to the princes and princesses. She looked at them all and bowed her head slightly, rose her head and her expression became listless, she walked past them all and made her way to the pond in the centre of the garden.

The princesses of the Xiěyè Empire did not like Yue Mian because their father paid more attention to her than them and Crown Prince An Cheng, who was now fifteen years old, almost ready to get married. Yue Mian was the first choice as his bride-to-be, but because of her unwillingness she was no longer the Crown Princess-to-be and became the Emperor’s goddaughter.

In the beginning, Crown Prince An Cheng had agreed to have Yue Mian as his bride, but was rejected; they became friends afterwards and he forgave her but still had feelings for her, he heard about her dog that died and wanted to comfort her but was pushed away and he noticed that a wall had been put between them. Because of this, they grew apart and they became more like rivals in the army’s base; Crown Prince An Cheng loved her for all these years and tried pursuing her but it was to no avail, Yue Mian had something else in her heart brewing.

Later on, he was mocked by his noble friends because he was rejected by Yue Mian, that was not the problem though, the problem was that he was now being teased for being engaged to a girl who was more manlier than him and although he loved her, it was a huge blow to his ego.

He began to dislike her and stopped being her training partner; Crown Prince An Cheng became arrogant and thought little of her, this did not bother Yue Mian that those nobles would tease her as well, but they made fun of Gãowán who had passed on, she beat up one of the nobles kid who had been pushing on her buttons which then led to her being punished by her grandfather.

This was also one of the reasons she didn’t have friends, because of idiotic things like this, she came to hate humans.

As she was minding her own business by the pond, the princes and princesses came over, she saw their reflections in the water and heard their giggling, but ignored it. She felt a hand touch her shoulder and push, but she did not budge, she grabbed onto the hand that was holding her, gripping it tightly, she slowly turned her body holding onto the hand.

It was one of the princesses that did not like her, princess An Choeng, the second child of the Xiěyè Empire. She glared at the princess and squeezed her hand tighter making her squeal. Yue Mian smirked then let go, “Princess An Choeng, what is the meaning of your actions?”

The princess glared at Yue Mian and pointed her index finger at her nose, “Yue Mian, you dare hurt me?”

She looked at the princess then scoffed and turned back around to look at the fish in the pond. Being ignored infuriated the two princesses, Yue Mian had the audacity to treat them like this in front of guest, humiliation! This was a complete humiliation.

The little princess who was standing next to Crown Prince An Cheng tugged on him and asked him to deal with Yue Mian on their behalf, he sighed. Fixing his face and posture he was about to say something, but just before he did, she started walking.

She walked around the princes and princesses of the Naiad Empire back towards the pavilion where the adults were.

“Yue Mian!” called Crown Prince An Cheng from behind her.

She stopped and turned to look at Crown Prince An Cheng, she stood with her hands behind her back and a straight face, she looked him straight in the eye with a fierce gaze not saying a word.

It was silent for a moment then Crown Prince An Cheng said, “You are being disrespectful towards your princess, apologize and I’ll let it go.”

Yue Mian stared at the Crown Prince and didn’t look elsewhere, he was known for making people kneel and admit their wrong doings even when they did not do anything wrong, showing off his power as the Crown Prince.

She continued to stare at him; her stare made the others from the Naiad Empire uncomfortable. One of the prince’s from the Naiad Empire scoffed and said, “Unruly commoner,” under his breath.

Her sharp eyes changed targets instantly to him and he froze looking at her piercing gaze, his heart trembled slightly and for some reason he felt sad. “Do you belong here?” she questioned him. He wanted to say something, but she was staring back at Crown Prince An Cheng.

Crown Prince An Cheng gritted his teeth and asked her, “Yue Mian, you dare be disrespectful towards the Emperor’s honoured guests?“, “Am I not the Emperor’s guest too?” she questioned back.

Crown Prince An Cheng’s mouth twitched slightly, but he covered it up and scoffed, he turned his back to her and said, “Yue Mian, don’t think that my father the Emperor favour’s you over us, the only reason why he speaks to you and made you his goddaughter was out of pity and for the fact that General Ye is your grandfather, do you really think you a commoner and fatherless child can walk freely around this Imperial Palace and do what you want?“, he scoffed and continued, “You are a bastard child and hold yourself as if you are above me the Crown Prince?”

He turned around to look at Yue Mian and was stunned, her sharp eyes were softer than before, but she was still staring at him, [Did I go to far?], he asked himself looking back at her.

Yue Mian opened her mouth and said, “An Cheng, you went to far this time, I am someone who holds grudges against those who treat me wrongly, don’t regret it when I return what you and the princesses did here today.”

“You should remember this, I am your Crown Prince not your friend, don’t address me with such familiarity,” he answered back.

Yue Mian smiled, she turned around and began walking, the first princess started yelling and carrying on for herself telling her brother to stop her and punish her. He looked at Yue Mian’s departing back and sighed, they used to be so close yet now they are more like strangers.

The adults heard the first princess’ yells and turned to look at them. They saw Yue Mian’s nearing figure. Her grandfather knew that she must have did something to upset the first princess and sighed telling himself he needed to punish Yue Mian when they returned home.

Emperor An saw Yue Mian’s slightly off expression and frowned, [What did those troublesome children do to upset her?], he wondered.

Emperor An smiled at Yue Mian as she was nearing, but was ignored by her gaze, she took the side path further away from the adults and walked in that direction, Emperor An motioned his personal eunuch to call her over.

He bowed and quickly scurried over to her, he spoke to her but was ignored, he walked after her and said, “Miss Ye, the Emperor wishes to speak to you.”

She stopped quickly in her steps, turned around, grabbed the eunuch who was following her by his silk robe, pulled him down to her level and she punched him in the face.

The servants near the entrance yelped, but quickly kept quiet, the eunuch held his face that was dripping blood from his nose on the ground. General Ye stood up from his seat and yelled her name out but was ignored by her.

She ran out of the garden, through the valley-like palace and ran down the velvet train carpet. When she arrived at the entrance she turned back and glared at the Imperial Palace and said in her heart, [I will never return here again!]

She grabbed her horse’s reins from the soldier who looked at her puzzled, she climbed up and kicked her horse with the back of her heels, it neighed and they galloped off.

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